While Smaug is a formidable antagonist in The Hobbit, he’s not the only notable dragon in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings lore.
JRR Tolkien’s Middle-earth world is full of many different creatures, but none are as fearsome as dragons. In the movies, and arguably in the books, Smaug is the most notable, taking up a lot of screen time. The Hobbit largely focuses on Smaug as the primary antagonist for most of the plot. But there are other dragons in Tolkien’s lore that hardly get any attention. While Smaug is certainly an important figure in Middle-earth history, he is do not the only dragon of importance.
Dragons are intelligent and powerful beasts that predate many of Tolkien’s creatures that audiences are more familiar with. They were feared by all, but also admired for their courage, providing intrigue and mystery to the inhabitants of Middle-earth. Although their precise origin has been debated, Tolkien makes it clear that they were created by Morgoth long before the events of either. The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings.
Click the button below to start this article in quick view.
One of the most notable dragons besides Smaug is Glaurung, who was slain by Túrin Turambar. Known as the Father of Dragons, Glaurung was the first fire-breathing dragon in Middle-earth. Created by Morgoth to gain the siege of Angband, Glaurung was not yet at full physical capacity and was defeated by the Elves, much to Morgoth’s annoyance. But as it grew, so did its destruction.
Glaurung also played a role in the infamous Túrin and Nienor story, causing Neinor to madness and forgetting her identity, which ultimately led her to fall in love with her own brother. For this reason, Túrin, his brother, swore to kill the dragon and caused Glaurung’s death, but not before the dragon returned Neinor’s memory. Knowledge of what happened to her drove her mad, and she jumped to her death in the river below. When Túrin awoke, he quickly threw himself on his own sword.
Ancalagon the Black is another infamous dragon, known to be the most powerful winged dragon to ever live in Middle-earth. Also worn by Morgoth, Ancalagon was used during the War of Wrath between Morgoth and the Valar. Ancalagon was Morgoth’s last weapon to defeat the mighty and almighty Valar, and he could have been successful without Eärendil. Eärendil came to Beleriand through his blessed ship Vingilot, alongside the Eagles of Manwë, and in one day had slain the mighty beast. Ancalagon fell on the volcanic mountains of Thangorodrim, and Morgoth’s resignation was quickly over.
The Great Cold Drake was a particular scrouge for the Dwarves. This dragon couldn’t breathe fire, but that didn’t stop him from wreaking total havoc on the Gray Mountains. The Cold Drakes were originally bred by Morgoth, but after the War of Wrath they were left on their own north of the Gray Mountains. Over time, with their numbers now increased, the Cold Drakes descended on the Gray Mountains and killed Dáin I and his second son Frór. The onslaught of this catastrophe finally persuaded the Dwarves to migrate east, far from their homes. For this reason, Erebor and the Iron Hills became the perfect destination for the Dwarves, and they stayed there until Smaug came to steal their horde of treasures.
Throughout Tolkien’s lore, there are many dragons that play roles throughout history, although sometimes in small parts. Despite their lack of presence in The Lord of the Rings, dragons were major players in Morgoth’s time and caused a lot of migration and resettlement for the people of Beleriand and Middle-earth. Although they didn’t have the screen time like Smaug, the dragons of Middle-earth were mighty, mighty, and made for compelling stories for travelers across the land. Although their days are over, they remain a large part of Middle-earth history.
KEEP READING: Lord of the Rings: How Gríma Wormtongue Became Chief Advisor to King Theoden
Return of Ant-Man 3’s MCU villain could tease a major Marvel theory – and it’s a ‘big’ deal